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Arsenal v Liverpool: The Battle for Sessegnon

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With the end of 2016/17 coming to a disquietingly quick end, the transfer rumour mill is once more in full swing after the usual post-January window lull. As a result of Sessegnon's strong performances for Fulham this season, the 17-year-old fullback has been linked with several Premier League clubs, including Arsenal – although Anfield is rumoured to be his likeliest destination this summer.

Fulham’s relegation from the Premier League in 2014 marked the end of a thirteen-year stay in the top flight. After several disappointing seasons, this year’s playoff place challenge has come as a glorious white light at the end of a tunnel of despair for the West London club.

Manager Slaviša Jokanović has stated that Sessegnon will not be departing Craven Cottage this summer. However, Jokanović’s Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger has the luxury of offering the sort of opportunity any young, self-respecting player would take in an instant.

ryan sessegnon

Wiser in White Sleeves

Over at Anfield, James Milner is currently number one left-back, and with the Yorkshireman now advancing in years and out of position, Sessegnon could well see his future there. In addition, Liverpool (currently third in the league) look a surer bet for a Champions League berth than Arsenal.

The Gunners do, however, have several games in hand over Liverpool. Subsequently, for anyone unsure of who to back for a Champions League spot, insurance offers for first-time bettors – such as those seen on – can be proverbial gold dust at this late juncture of the season.

However, when Milner’s key stats are compared to those of Arsenal’s current first-choice left-back, Nacho Monreal, Sessegnon may have greater cause to stay in the capital – albeit at a more prolific club.

On average, Monreal’s shooting accuracy pales in comparison to Milner – although this is to be expected, given Milner’s previous experience in a more advanced position. However, more significantly, Milner also wins significantly more tackles and more ‘take-ons’ per match than Monreal – even though he is not a defender by trade.

As such, Sessegnon could, in time, be compelled to believe that he has a better chance of competing for a starting XI spot at Arsenal – far more so than at any other club in the upper reaches of the Premier League.

Then one must consider the most crucial factor of all: Arsene Wenger and his presence at Arsenal FC – or lack thereof.

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A new beginning

With the Arsenal FC board soon set to discuss his future at the club, there is the distinct likelihood that Arsene Wenger will have departed by the summer transfer window.

One possible outcome from this is the appointment of a manager that wishes to involve his fullbacks with attacking moves at greater regularity than Wenger. Indeed, Sessegnon’s Easter Monday goal, against Aston Villa, was yet another indication of the potency he possesses as a marauder from a deeper position. Thus, the implication that he could fit easily into a ‘new-look’ Arsenal squad is vastly strengthened.

With the appointment of any new manager will, inevitably, come a different playing style, managerial approach and long-term vision. It is towards this change that young talents, such as Sessegnon, will be most receptive.

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